Friday, July 1, 2011

Confessions of a Mom who Disliked the Midwife

© Amber Carder 2011. Amber shares her home birth story with us, giving us good reasons to carefully research our care providers no matter what location we choose for the birth.

After trying to get pregnant for almost a year, in April of 2010 I found out I was pregnant with baby #2. My husband and I were excited and nervous. I prepared for a home birth from the beginning. I had already picked out a midwife long before I became pregnant. Unfortunately, she wasn't taking any new clients at that time. She referred me to another midwife in my area. We hired her right away. I now wished that I had explored my options before hiring immediately.

The first several months of my pregnancy were great! I loved being pregnant. I loved the excitement and attention from my husband. It was exciting to feel the baby move. Everything was going smoothly. I liked my midwife during those months. As the end of my pregnancy was approaching I started to realize I didn't like her all that much. She seemed to be a very controlling person. She would get irritated at me if I didn't do certain things she prescribed. For example, homeopathic remedies were very new to me. I had never really even heard of it until this pregnancy. I didn't like how she wanted me to take stuff all the time.

I planned on having the same people at this birth as I did with my daughter. All except my grandmother because she was in Florida at the time. There would be my aunt, my mother and my husband. My aunt is my best friend and my doula. After all, she did home birth twins! She's my hero. Anyways, from the start I could tell my midwife didn't really want them here (my mom and aunt). They were 2 hours away and she would say things like, “Well, I don't know if they will even be able to make it here in time.” There were lots of little comments she made, but I can't remember them all. They made me feel uncomfortable.

It took me a while to admit it to my husband that I didn't like her. I already knew he didn't like her. She made a comment to him pretty much saying that his opinion didn't matter because ultimately everything was my decision since I was the mother. I thought that was wrong in light of our smooth pregnancy.

I had Braxton hicks pretty strong for the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy. One night when I was 38 weeks, they were very strong and consistent. I seriously was thinking it was time. I called my midwife and she sounded a little annoyed that I called in the middle of the night. She also later apologized to me for being rude. So it wasn't just me. 

About a week later the same thing happened but this was more in the evening. So I called again and she decided to come out and check me. I was dilated to 1cm and 60% effaced. So I still had some time. It could have been that night or two weeks later. She gave me some valerian root to help me relax and fall asleep. That stuff worked!

My "due date" was February 12th, 2010. I was worried I would have the baby on Valentine’s Day. That should be a day for his wife when he gets married one day. I don't want her Valentines Day to be about his birthday! I know it's silly. Low and behold at 6:30am on February 14th I went into labor! My mom was already here staying with me.
So I called my aunt first to let her know what was going on and to tell her she might want to go ahead and make the trip. I called my midwife at about 7:30am to let her know what was going on. I was having some bloody show and my contractions were getting stronger. She told me to call and tell my husband that he should go ahead and come home from work. She said she would be here in about an hour. I think she got here some where around 9 or 10. I can't remember too well. My mom and I went ahead and got the pool and my bed ready. It was all so surreal!

This should have been such a relaxing time for me since I was going to be delivering in the comfort of my own home. Unfortunately my midwife made it the complete opposite. There was a lot of whispering going on between her and her assistant. At one point while I was in my room laboring she was in the living room with my mom and aunt. She actually told them that she didn't think I was truly in labor.

She said that, “some women bring on false labor themselves." She kept making me get into positions that made me uncomfortable. I just wanted to be left along to do my thing. She even went as far as switching the oil in my burner! She didn't like the way it smelled. I picked it because I loved the smell of it! Every time she left to eat or whatever it was instant relief. The one time she left I started having some really good contractions. I was in the zone, listening to some Indigo Girls and sitting on a birthing ball. As soon as I saw her car pull up again I could feel them weakening. 

The whole time she was trying to keep my mom and aunt away from me. She kept shutting my bedroom door saying that I needed to rest. She was making them uncomfortable. I kept telling them to come back in and I guess she just wasn't getting the hint. I still haven't been able to figure out why she was doing that. It was annoying all of us. 

My midwife planned on going out of town on February 15th. I knew this from the beginning. When I was 7cm she decided she wanted to talk to me privately in my bedroom. She told me, "If something doesn't start happening soon then I'm going to have to give you something to stop your labor." I have no idea what she planned on "giving me" but I was NOT going to take it! This was later on in the evening. I did NOT work all day to just stop and go to sleep. I was having this baby tonight regardless of anyone's thoughts!

Nonetheless, her adamant remark had freaked us out so I decided then that I was going to go out walking. I put some clothes on and out I went. My husband and I walked around our block about 5 times before my aunt joined us. I can't even tell you how many times I walked that block! I didn't stop for contractions. I just kept on a movin'. I was determined to keep my contractions going. I WAS having this baby tonight! 

When we came back from walking my midwife told me that she was going to have to go ahead and call the midwife she had on call. She turned to me and said, "Now you have to be a good girl and listen to everything she says." She needed to go home to get some sleep before her trip. Honestly I had never been so relieved! After all, this was the midwife that I had originally wanted. 

She arrived a little after 10pm. Once she got there and my midwife left I started to progress a lot faster. She just stayed to herself and let me do my thing. In fact she sat on my couch and knitted the whole time! She only came when I needed her. I loved her style. She did not boss me or make me feel small. I just loved her and I'm so thankful she was there to share those couple hours with us. 

Around 2:30am I wanted sooo badly to get back into the pool. I had tried twice earlier that day but it was slowing me down. I had been in transition for a while and just felt like I couldn't take it any longer. He was posterior and that added to the pain. At one point I said to my husband "what the hell am I doing? Why didn't I just take the easy way out and have an epidural?!" Now we laugh about this. I begged her and begged her to let me get in the pool. Finally she agreed. I don't think I've EVER in my life begged someone for something like that! It was so intense. Either she was telling me I could get in or I was just going to get in. I couldn't take it anymore. I knew the time was coming! I promised her that if I got in and I started to slow back down I would get out right away. She finally agreed.

Once in the water my contractions became even stronger. I finally started to feel the urge to push. I called her back in the room. She checked me and said that I had a little cervical lip and told me to hold back from pushing for about 30 minutes. By 2 contractions later I told her I couldn't do it, I HAD to push. She then held my cervix back and told me to push. Once she took her hand out of the water she told me to go ahead and do my thing. I was trying to push and my bottom was hurting more then anything else. I said I needed help. My husband jumped right in and put pressure on my rectum. I swear I have the best husband ever!

I pushed one big strong push. I put my hand down there so I could feel what was going on. I felt a bulge down there. At first I thought it was the head. It was the bad of water! It was amazing! One push later his head was out! I screamed "The heads out, the heads out, oh my god, oh my god!" A couple pushes later he was born into my hands. My aunt later laughed that I pulled him out of the water super fast. I couldn't wait to lay eyes on my beautiful baby. My husband was right there next to me to share the moment. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. It was the most amazing thing I've ever experienced. 

He was born at 2:43am, 02/15/11. I swore I wasn't going to have a Valentines baby and I didn't! 

We didn't cut the cord for at least an hour after birth. I snuggled in bed nursing my baby and enjoyed every moment of it! My mom, husband and aunt all took turns laying next to me in the bed, just admiring this little person I just gave birth to. It was the most amazing feeling ever. 

Calvin Joseph Carder: 7lbs 13oz, 20 inches


  1. I love his expression. "Sup guys, I was on my way, why were you all flipping out?" He's so relaxed, it's almost a goofy look! And he's such a doll! Thanks for sharing your story - I feel so much of your birth in my own. <3

  2. Oh my gosh, sounds like we had the same midwife! Mine wanted me to snort pitocin! I wound up going to the hospital (posterior baby) and got an awesome and respectful midwife and gave birth within a few hours. The irony was that I had to go to the hospital to have "with woman" care. Like you, I knew ahead of time that I did not feel good about giving birth with this midwife yet had no other local options for homebirth. Ladies, trust that little voice! Congratulations and welcome to your beautiful child.

  3. Amazing how that all turned out! When was he born? I see conflicting dates in this post.

    "in April of 2010 I found out I was pregnant with baby #2"

    "My "due date" was February 12th, 2010."

    "He was born at 2:43am, 02/15/11"

  4. Wow its like you completely forgot about the death you caused. No retraction, no I'm sorry I'm not a medical professional, just a silly housewife. Just some post pushing your agenda of death. Don't worry I'll remind you from time to time that babies die, when you lie....

    Yours in Christ,

  5. You have especially gravitated towards specific stories on my blog, and that says a lot about what is in your heart and weighing you down. I pray for you at Mass. I know you are here b/c you are hurting and I wish there was someone in your life who could carry that cross for you for just a moment of relief.

    I pray that God directs you to the healing that you so deeply need. I will not say that time makes all grief pass away, nor does it soothe fiery anger. But healing can begin to put the pieces of your soul back together and lead you to a healthier mindset.

    Peace, dear anonymous

  6. Thank you for your prayers, please also include the innocences for whom their deaths you have contributed to, especially the ones who will die from measles, whopping cough, polio, midwives and UCs. I will also pray for you and others like you who pushing this same agenda.

    Yours in Christ

  7. It sounds like you lost someone b/c of a poor choice you might have made. Remember that we all do our best with the information we have at hand. Regret can really eat your soul. Stick around and keep reading all of my posts. :) I'm glad you're here; it means a part of you wants to know the truth.

  8. Wow, what a story about a homebirth/midwife! I have had three homebirths that were absolutely amazing (a different midwife each), and can honestly say that the way your midwife was controlling was an awful experience for you :(!

    A homebirth is meant to give back the power to the woman (the natural power that birthing should provide) and that IS a big part of the homebirth; it is sad and amazing that there would be a midwife that didn't provide this. I loved each birth I had specifically because I had the power to control my surroundings and ask for what I needed to do, when, and how...loved it loved it loved it ~ if someone is going to tell you what to do, you might as well be in a hospital!

  9. OMG why have I not seen this before? My first MW was sort of like that. Patronizing, said little things that alone I ignored but eventually piled up, impatient, etc. I really thought that by going with a homebirth I'd have no provider issues. Live and learn!